BRICS building a better, shared future
Emerging markets and developing countries
China has been, for some time now, the largest economy in the world measured in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms, which is the correct criterion to compare GDPs across countries. India is the third-largest economy, Russia the sixth largest and Brazil the eighth largest in PPP terms, according to the 2021 data published by the International Monetary Fund. The four giant economies of the world were joined later by South Africa, one of the most important countries in sub-Saharan Africa, to form BRICS.
In the last 14 years, we have achieved quite a lot. We started by focusing on improving the governance of the IMF, and working together in the G20. Remember that in 2008, the year when we started meeting, the G20 was upgraded, and the BRICS members worked together in the IMF and the G20 to help improve the international financial architecture. We managed to obtain some success in terms of reform.
In the IMF, in particular, I recall that BRICS immediately became an important coordination mechanism, second only to the European bloc. So BRICS started off in a big way.
With the IMF, the World Bank and the G20 in existence, BRICS has become all the more necessary. But BRICS was never meant to be anti-United States, anti-Europe, anti-anyone. BRICS members are pro-BRICS, pro-Brazil, pro-Russia, pro-India, pro-China and pro-South Africa. More broadly, the BRICS members are pro-emerging markets and pro-developing countries.
So our intention was always to be a force to promote the shared development of the Global South. This has been in our minds from the very beginning. Of course, we had no presumption that we will guide other countries, and other emerging markets.
Paulo Nogueira Batista Jr., former executive director at the IMF and former vice-president of the BRICS New Development Bank
Aim to help improve global governance
BRICS is a set of three geographically close ancient societies plus two distant, new economies. The consolidation of the group requires the building up of joint initiatives, as a means to maximize the benefits of complementarity, as well as a means to correspond to the basic motivation that has led to the very creation of the group, namely to influence global governance.
This requires the identification of joint purposes, even more so when we are living in a time when global governance is rapidly changing. This makes it challenging for BRICS to even identify what aspects of global governance it aims to influence.
Furthermore, more intense cooperation is needed because it is widely recognized that there is huge potential to foster economic and social development stemming from joint initiatives by the five BRICS members.
BRICS has already expanded the number of members of its New Development Bank, a most welcome movement which is expected to improve the bank's operations. As for increasing the number of BRICS members, the specific reasons for that are less immediate. Before that, the present set of five members should deepen relations, foster joint initiatives, intensify cooperation and clearly identify joint interests.
Renato Baumann, coordinator, International Cooperation and Investments, at the Institute of Applied Economic Research, Brazil
Together for a more just, efficient system
During the last few years, we have seen the total destruction of international law, the trade war launched by the US against China, the financial sanctions against Russia, and the violation of World Trade Organization norms by Western countries. All these show the existing economic system has ceased to work; it has collapsed.
The new economic mode emerging in Asia is a combination of central strategic planning and market competition. The governments in the new economic system are responsible for economic growth and the well-being of the people. The basis for this new economic mode is open, friendly, just relations between countries focused on creating new opportunities for economic growth. For this reason, we see successful economic growth in China, in India, in all the countries which are trying to introduce new economic relations.
The problem, however, is that the major power sources in the world economic system are still in the hands of the Western financial oligarchs. They're trying to use their dominance in the global financial system and the power of their currencies for political purposes. They use their monopoly in the world monetary sphere for their own private needs, in order to prevent the countries from moving toward more just, efficient, open, transparent, rules-based economic cooperation.
But since the BRICS member states are dominant in terms of not only population but also the economy, they could help build the new global financial and economic structure, which will prevent any attempts to use financial instruments for political, selfish purposes.
Sergey Glaziev Yurievich, minister for integration and macroeconomics of the Eurasian Economic Commission and a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences
An alternative to Western groupings
The raison d'être of BRICS coming into existence has been to come up with an alternative to the Western-inspired groupings and institutions that tend to promote their own interests and outlooks at times to the exclusion of the interests of groups and countries that are not beholden to them.
Thus, BRICS has become a useful platform for the member states to exchange views on global politics, governance and the economic environment.
The Ukraine conflict and the COVID-19 pandemic have made it clear that adherence to the United Nations Charter should continue to be the guiding light if international peace and security and the objectives of the UN's Sustainable Developments Goals are to be realized.
It is well known that the effectiveness of BRICS as an alternative to the Western-inspired groupings and institutions has always been under scrutiny. While it can be said that BRICS has made steady progress in its objectives, it still has a long way to go before it can play a leading role for the developing world.
Last year, India hosted the BRICS Summit with a number of new initiatives, which have been detailed in the XIII BRICS Summit Declaration. BRICS has cooperated in providing 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses and other medical materials, as well as grants and donations bilaterally, and to international organizations and COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access, or COVAX.
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